Along the Parenting journey there are some pretty high highs and some pretty low lows… one of these said lows is most certainly potty training!
Every kid is so different so it’s tricky to predict just how things will go for your child (and you!) You just can’t rely on the fact that it was easy with your first born!
Fortunately these days we have the internet to help with all kinds of parenting advice and that’s where this post comes in – to help you find the right steps to help you and your child on this journey to independence!
It’s important to bear in mind that most children become potty trained between the ages of 18 and 30 months. (although it has more to do with temperamental and neurological development than exact age)
If you start potty-training before your child is biologically and emotionally ready, you’re BOTH going to end up feeling frustrated by the process and it will take a lot longer because it’s likely to turn into a battle of wills – and that’s a battle that the parent almost never wins.
So, is your child ready to start potty training? If you can answer ‘yes’ to most of the questions below, you may just be ready to begin tackling this major milestone!
Top Potty Training Tips
Girls tend to start showing interest in potty-training from just after 2, while boys are a bit later and will be interested at around 2 and a half years old.
Make sure YOUR kid is ready to try the potty, not anyone else’s. Just because your friends kid managed quickly, does not even nearly mean your own child will, or that he or she is even ready to (and they may be the same age).
Definitely aim to make have tackled this task before the age of 3 as past that age it gets a lot harder.
Try to avoid starting potty-training when there are other big changes in your child’s life, such as illness, divorce,moving to a new home, a death in the family (even of a pet), a new daycare, or a baby in the house. It’s best to postpone potty-training if your child is stressed elsewhere in their life.
Learn to recognize the signs that your child needs the bathroom (eg. knees-together, bouncing-up-and-down dance) and help them to notice them too.
Start priming them to the idea of using the potty. Don’t expect them to happily sit down on it and go the first time you bring it out or on the day you introduce the concept.
Some tactics to try in advance of attempting potty training include: reading a potty training book together, leaving the potty in the corner of the bathroom, showing them yourself what you do in the loo!
One of my most challenging parts of potty training was that it forced me to be really relaxed and open with my own body and bowel movements to help to normalize the whole poo thing (my son got the wee thing in a morning, but journeyed longer with the poo training) We had to show him how normal making a poo is and that everyone does it and it is not scary at all. This meant telling him when we were going to the bathroom and letting him be there to watch and comment. I have to laugh when I remember hearing from myself say things like “That was a big poo!” or “WOW, what a big splash that one made” in an effort to make it humorous and relaxed ??? – Catherine
Potty Training is often best tackled in Summer when it’s easier to wee on the grass or on a “wee tree” – something my pre-school advocates to avoid disasters on the playground! – Julie
Once you’ve started getting your child comfortable wee-ing outside on the grass, migrate the action to a potty, still located outside! Then, over the next few days, move it to the bathroom next to the big toilet. Tell your child that the “little toilet” is for her and the big one is for grown-ups. A few days later, have her sit on the seat (fully clothed is fine). After another few days, start asking your child a number of times every day whether you can take off her diaper so she can sit on her special seat. Remember it’s going to take time so just take one step at a time!
A concentrated few days at home that allows easy access to the potty and the big toilet are crucial to getting this right (over a holiday would be a great time!) By being able to consistently offer the potty throughout the day you’re far more likely to make this a quick transition instead of letting it drag out for weeks, or (horror) months!
As a family we really enjoyed doing a Victory Dance/ Song after a No.1 or No.2 were delivered… No.1 = Wee will rock you; No.2 = The Haka – Shelagh
Don’t leave potty-training up to the play school, nanny or child-minder. Get your child into a good habit at home and then let the other caregivers follow your lead. Barring any major life change, once you’ve started the potty training process, there should be no going back. Let all caregivers know what you’re doing at home and ask them to do the same. It’s NB that everyone involved in the process is consistent and patient.
Sometimes little boys will refuse to wee standing up, instead of making a fuss, let your son do as he wishes until he’s ready to stand up. He’ll eventually figure it out so don’t panic!
Make it fun – try putting some o-shaped cereal or other “targets” in the water for little boys to aim for or add some blue food colouring to the water so they can see the water change to green when they get their aim right!
I have found that if I let my son empty the potty into the toilet he gets very excited (our potty has a handy detachable bowl) so when I ask him if he wants to use the potty he usually says “No”… but when I ask “Are you sure, you can empty the wee into the toilet” he gets excited and runs to the bathroom. A little unconventional, but whatever works I guess! – Alison
Don’t let them watch the movie ‘Flushed Away’ before or during potty training. NOT a good idea… for the obvious reason: fear of being flushed away – Shelagh
Avoid making punishment a part of potty training. It’s impossible to force a child to use the toilet if she isn’t ready or doesn’t want to. Children who feel pressured sometimes try to regain control of the situation by refusing to get out of nappies or by not going to the bathroom at all which can lead to constipation or bladder infections!
Each child is totally different so what worked for one does not necessarily mean it will work for the other. Some kids prefer a big step up to the toilet while others prefer a mini toilet-like potty at first. Some kids prefer all their clothes off while sitting on the throne, while others want you to hold their hand. Make sure you are attentive to their individual needs for support during this transitional stage.
If your child starts wee-ing away from the potty, don’t panic and race them to it as it may stress them out and make them develop negative associations. Rather let them finish and make a mess. – Suzanne
Be patient and don’t take your frustration out on the child. This can be hard especially when multiple accidents require cleaning up!! – Emma
Try not to get frustrated when it has been months. We spent a good two months AT LEAST washing out undies and changing poo nappies at 10pm at night because he either held it in or refused to go in the potty at all. If it’s causing stress, rather wait a little longer and try again or simply continue with as much positive reinforcement as you can. – Kim
Stop all liquids one hour before bedtime (and make sure they visit the toilet before bed even if they still wear a night nappy). This will increase the chances that your child will wake up dry, which will boost his confidence.
One common cause of potty-training accidents is forgetfulness: children this age can get so caught up in an activity that they forget to pay attention to the signals their bladder is sending them and afterwards they can’t say why the accidents happened! Don’t press your child for explanations. Just express your regret but be sure to let them know that you aren’t angry. It’s very important to not make your child feel ashamed or embarrassed for not getting potty training straight away or having an “accident”. It’ll only make them fearful or stressed about getting it right or wrong rather than understanding and listening to their bodies. The more relaxed you are, the less pressure they will feel… They get it when they’re ready.
If accidents occur get your child to help you to change their clothes, clean up the mess and put the wet clothes in the laundry so that they know how to handle it should a problem occur when you aren’t around! It’s not about turning the experience into a guilt trip, but rather empowering them towards independence.
When it comes to night time potty-training don’t worry about it for a while. Wait until your child is regularly dry after waking from naps and occasionally dry in the morning before tackling this more ambitious task (no one likes extra laundry!!) Remember that overnight bladder control can only occur about a year after daytime control.
The best clothes kids can wear while potty training are the ones that they are able to take off quickly! Pull up pants are perfect for toilet training as kids can learn to be more independent and can get used to the newness of being active participants in changing themselves by pulling their “pants” up and down instead of being passive in the process by just lying on their backs for a nappy change. Remember that potty-training is a step towards independence and it is vital to instill a sense of “I can do this” in them!
Pampers Baby Dry Pants are easy to pull up and down and offer up to 12 hours of dryness. These pants-style diapers are your best bet for a good night’s rest and are especially helpful during the critical potty-training stage as they allow toddlers the independence to go to the potty on their own. The soft cotton-like material provides superior comfort and keeps the skin fresh all night long.
When your child finally gets it right be sure to give them lots of praise to encourage them to do it the right way again, and again! Use phrases such as “Wow, you are so clever my boy!” or “What a big girl”. Rewarding with praise is preferably to physical rewards such as sweets, although you can attempt a sticker chart. It is amazing what a little bit of motivation will do.
If you’re about to tackle the potty-training stage you might like to try the Pampers Pants or, if you’re a few months off, then maybe you’d prefer to enter this competition to WIN a 6 month’s supply of Pampers Pants.
To enter to WIN all you have to do is tell Pampers how much you love their products by writing a review on the Pampers website.
You’ll need to sign-up to the Pampers website in order to submit your review
- Visit www.pampers.co.za
- Click on Log in (top right)
- Create a profile with your name, email address and password
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